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This Hour: Latest Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont news, sports, business and entertainment

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Maine group gives grades on conservation issues

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - A conservation group in Maine is handing out grades to lawmakers for their votes in the Legislature.

Maine Conservation Voters unveiled its 2014 environmental scorecard on Thursday.

Lawmakers were graded on their votes on 13 bills. They include a measure that created rules to facilitate metallic mineral mining, one that would provide residents with rebates for solar equipment and a $10 million bond aimed at protecting Maine's drinking water resources.

Fourteen members of the Senate and 59 members of the House of Representatives received a perfect score.

One senator and four House members made the "dishonor roll" which means the conservation group agreed with their votes on just one of the 13 issues.


Ex-publisher appears in court on child porn charge

AUBURN, Maine (AP) - A former Auburn city councilor who also once published a local magazine and organized a community film festival has appeared in court for the first time since being charged with possessing child pornography.

Joshua Shea was arrested in March and was freed on bail.

Shea's attorney, David Van Dyke, told the Sun Journal after his client's appearance Thursday at Androscoggin County Superior Court that Shea had been in a course of counseling since April at an intensive, out-of-state residential facility.

Deputy District Attorney Andrew Robinson has said he expects to seek an indictment against Shea when he presents the case to a grand jury in September or later, possibly seeking additional charges.

After his arrest, the 38-year-old Shea was fired from his job as publisher of Lewiston Auburn Magazine.


Ex-minor league hockey coach gets 2-month sentence

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - A former assistant coach for the Portland Pirates minor league hockey team has been sentenced to two months in jail after pleading no contest to a charge of sexual misconduct with a 13-year-old girl.

Michael Minard was sentenced Wednesday in Waldo County Superior Court and ordered to pay the girl $560.

Prosecutors say the 37-year-old Minard met the girl at a game in Lewiston last season when her family sat behind the Pirates' bench.

The Portland Press Herald reports that they later exchanged cellphone numbers. Police say Minard eventually sent the girl a lewd photo of himself.

Minard was fired by the Pirates' parent club, the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes.

He lived in Falmouth at the time, but has since moved to Canada.

His lawyer said Minard was not a threat.


Westbrook officer claims sexual harassment

WESTBROOK, Maine (AP) - A Westbrook police officer has filed notice of her intention to sue the city, claiming she was sexually harassed after issuing a speeding ticket to another officer's girlfriend.

Officer Melissa May filed a notice of claim Aug. 20, announcing her intention to file a lawsuit alleging violations of the Maine Human Rights Act, including sexual harassment, hostile work environment, discrimination on the basis of gender, retaliation and whistleblower discrimination.

May says after issuing the ticket in January at least two other officers referred to her by a derogatory name.

Mayor Colleen Hilton told the Portland Press Herald on Thursday in a written statement that the city will continue to work with May and her attorney to resolve the complaint and avoid costly litigation.


Serial Maine bank robber gets 10 years in prison

BANGOR, Maine (AP) - An Old Town man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for committing a pair of bank robberies that netted him more than $17,000.

Troy Gay was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty earlier this month to robbing the Camden National Bank in Corinth in March and the Bangor Savings Bank in Orono in April.

He was also ordered to pay full restitution.

Prosecutors say the 26-year-old Gay had a drug dependency at the time of the robberies.

WABI-TV reports that Gay apologized in court for the trauma he caused bank employees.

Gay was previously convicted of robbing two banks back in 2009.


Lost Valley coming up with a plan to reopen

AUBURN, Maine (AP) - Maine's Lost Valley ski area and community volunteers are pulling together a plan to try to reopen this winter.

Lincoln Hayes, one of the owners, said a recent meeting with the Auburn Ski Association yielded some progress but that a plan hasn't yet been finalized.

The ski resort, which first opened in 1961, announced in June that it was in financial trouble and would be unable to reopen.

Hayes tells the Sun Journal that there's been an outpouring of community support since then. Hayes suggested a group that would be known as "Friends of Lost Valley" was forming, and they would possibly become a non-profit organization.


Augusta school crossing guard reports to work

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Even though the Augusta school board eliminated crossing guards this summer, one dedicated crossing guard is reported for anyway.

Sherry MacArthur, with a hand-held stop sign, helped kids cross the street near Lincoln Elementary School on Wednesday and Thursday.

The 48-year-old MacArthur, who's been a crossing guard for nine years, tells the Kennebec Journal her conscience wouldn't allow her to risk the health and safety of kids.

She says drivers frequently speed on the four-lane highway near the school and she's seen a number of close calls over the years.

The city cut all crossing guards earlier this month, saying few kids walk to school these days. The move also saved $47,000.

MacArthur says she plans to keep showing up to work.



High court to rule on sentencing young killers

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - The New Hampshire Supreme Court is poised to decide whether four of the state's most notorious young killers should receive new sentencing hearings in light of a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that mandatory life sentences for juvenile killers are unconstitutional.

The ruling, to be released Friday, could mandate new sentencing hearings for Robert Tulloch, Robert Dingman and two other convicted killers who were under the age of 18 when they committed their crimes.

Tulloch stabbed to death two Dartmouth professors in 2001. Dingman killed his parents in 1996 rather than abide by curfews and other house rules.

Prosecutors argue that the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling should not be applied retroactively.

Lawyers for the four argued in June that their clients were children and lesser sentences should be considered.


New Hampshire town pauses panhandling crackdown

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Officials in a New Hampshire town have agreed to suspend their efforts to crackdown on panhandlers while a federal lawsuit is pending.

The New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union earlier this month filed a lawsuit claiming Hudson officials are violating the free speech rights of panhandlers by telling them to stop seeking handouts and move along.

The Nashua Telegraph reports the two sides agreed in federal court that panhandlers would be able to solicit donations provided their conduct doesn't interfere with traffic or impede access to local businesses.

The civil liberties union filed a lawsuit several weeks ago on behalf of 24-year-old panhandler Jeffery Pendleton, claiming he's been cited and harassed for standing peacefully with a sign seeking handouts.


New Hampshire police investigate Newport shooting

NEWPORT, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire law enforcement officials are investigating a shooting in Newport.

Police were called to a Laurel Street residence just after 8 p.m. Thursday.

WMUR reports that a male victim was airlifted to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon. His name and condition have not been released.

The state police major crime unit, Sullivan County Attorney's office and the New Hampshire Attorney General's office are investigating.

Newport police Friday morning said they have no additional information to release.


99th Hopkinton State Fair has snowmobile racing

CONTOOCOOK, N.H. (AP) - The 99th annual Hopkinton State Fair is starting its four-day run with a new event: snowmobile drag racing.

On Friday, the day the fair opens, snowmobile engines will be revving up at 7 p.m. to take to the dirt track. They'll be competing for the top spot in three engine classes.

Also featured this year is a demolition derby on Saturday and Sunday and truck mud racing on Monday.

Also featured are juggling, wood sculptures, livestock shows, music and rides.



Vermonters warned they may be hacking victims

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) - More than a thousand Vermont residents have been warned by a medical records management company that their personal information may have fallen into the hands of Chinese computer hackers.

The Burlington Free Press reports that about 1,100 Vermont residents are being notified that their identifying information may have been stolen.

The data could be in the hands of Chinese hackers behind one of the largest raids on electronic medical records. The notifications were made in an Aug. 25 letter from the Tennessee-based Community Health Systems Professional Services Corp.

The Free Press reports that it's unclear where the affected consumers sought health care treatment. Community Health Systems says it has no affiliation with Vermont doctors or hospitals.


Police investigate death of Vermont prison inmate

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. (AP) - An autopsy has been ordered for a 71-year-old Hubbardton man who died while awaiting trial on murder charges at the Vermont state prison in Springfield.

Sylvester Labartino was found dead at the Southern State Correctional Facility on Wednesday evening.

Labartino was awaiting trial for the Feb. 12 killings of Christopher and Shane Plummer in the town of Hubbardton. The Plummers were a father and son team of electricians who had been working at Labartino's rented home.

Police say Labartino had been recently diagnosed with a serious medical condition and had a history of other health problems. He was admitted to the prison infirmary on Aug. 20.

Police say his death appears to have been due to natural causes, but the investigation is continuing.


Vermont offers fossil-free retirement option

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Vermont teachers now have the option of investing some of their retirement savings in fossil-free mutual funds.

State Treasurer Beth Pearce says the addition of the 403(b) option was approved by the Vermont State Teacher's Retirement Board of Trustees at its August meeting.

Pearce says the option gives teachers more choices to teachers who want to make socially responsible investments.

The plan is available to teachers in all Vermont supervisory unions.

In February the same option was made available to state employees.


New York beekeeper accused of defrauding on bees

CANTON, N.Y. (AP) - A beekeeper is being accused of defrauding people in New York and Vermont out of thousands of dollars by failing to provide them with beehives.

New York State Police charged 36-year-old John P. Clarke of the northern New York town of Waddington with felony first-degree scheme to defraud on Wednesday.

Troopers told the Watertown Daily Times that they had received four complaints from people who said they sent Clarke money for beehives or beehive nucleuses that were never delivered or only partially delivered. All of the customers said they contacted Clarke through a Craigslist ad.

Clarke was arraigned in Waddington Town Court and was sent to jail on $50,000 cash bail.

It could not immediately be determined if Clarke had a lawyer.


NCAA allows 2 Vermont colleges to share athletes

BENNINGTON, Vt. (AP) - The NCAA is allowing students from Bennington College to play on intercollegiate athletic teams fielded by Southern Vermont College.

The schools say a Bennington student will play on the Southern Vermont men's soccer team on Saturday.

Bennington College does not participate in intercollegiate athletics. Southern Vermont is a member of the New England Collegiate Conference Division III.

An NCAA requirement to approve the consortium was existing cooperation between the two schools. Officials say Bennington and Southern Vermont have worked closely since 2005 and the sports partnership would increase the level of cooperation.

Through the new consortium, Southern Vermont is allowed to recruit student-athletes enrolled at Bennington. The athletes must meet all NCAA and Southern Vermont eligibility requirements as well Division III performance standards.

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